• - Fabric
  • - Lining
  • - Thread
  • - Heading Tape
  • - Weights
  • - Curtain Hooks
  • Tools
  • - Sewing Machine
  • - Needles
  • - Pins
  • - Clamps
  • - Scissors
  • - Set Square
  • - Straight Edge
  • - Invisible Marker
  • - Tape Measure
  • Step 9: Form the Pleats
    Printable Worksheet
    Printable Worksheet

    On a pencil pleat heading this stage is very simple. You just gather the heading by pulling the cords.

    • From the outside edge of the curtain pull the cords so the heading starts to gather. Keep pulling until the top of the curtain is the FINISHED CURTAIN WIDTH.
    • Tie the pulled cord with a slip knot to stop it slipping back into the heading tape.
    • Insert curtain hooks aprroximately every 10cm along the heading tape with one at each end.
    • Make sure you have the appropriate number of rings on the track or pole.
    This video shows you
    • How to pull the pencil pleat heading tape
    • How to form and space your pencil pleats
    • Which hook type to use
    • Where to attach your hooks

    Extra Help & Comments

    Sew Helpful
    Post your questions and comments here, we will reply so everyone can see the answer. 
    What do you class as the outside edge of the curtain when drawing up the header tape? Is this the side that is nearest the wall?
    Sew Helpful
    Yes the outside edge is the side that doesn't meet in the middle.
    I am using 8 inch pencil pleat tape. How many rows of stitching should i do when attaching it?
    Sew Helpful
    We haven't used tape that deep before. We would expect it to work ok sticking with the standard way of stiching at the top and bottom. Then when you pull the heading take care to form the pleats evenly, adjusting them by hand. 

    Let us know how you get on!

    Sandra Bartlett
    Would just like to say how brilliant are your instructions and videos. Have just hung my pencil pleat curtains and am so pleased with the results. Am not a complete novice and have made curtains before but using your method gave me far more professional results. Learned some new stitches too as hadn't heard of ladder stitch! Thank you and will certainly recommend you to friends and family.
    Sew Helpful
    That is great to hear. We would love to see some photos of them that we could post on our "what you've made" Pinterest board.

    For anyone interested in sending in photos of what they've made please email photos to
    I bag style make my curtains (just how I was taught). I've noticed that if I hem my linings first that sometimes they are abit short by the time I've sewn the sides from the top even though the measurements were correct to start with!! Is this just because fabric moves or maybe I need a walking foot!!
    Also, I'm making a pair of curtains that have 3 widths in each!! Yes, I'm abit nervous! Any advice when it comes to gathering the header tape as I find it makes my hand & arm hurt after a while on just a double width curtain, let alone triple!
    Many Thanks
    Sew Helpful
    A walking foot will help, but that is one reason why we make them the way we do in this tutorial, hand stitching the side turns.

    Not sure about aching arms and hands, the way we gather the heading is in the videos.
    Just made my first pair of curtains and am very pleased with them, though I might shorten them 10mm,which I think might be very easy using your method of construction. Thank you. The videos are most helpful.
    Sew Helpful
    Could you move the hook position rather than re-make?

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